Two East Tennessee State University students won free tuition when two of the school’s basketball players each made a half-court shot at a preseason event on Monday night.
Junior guard Devontavius Payne first made a half-court shot to provide ESTU student Garrett Pack with a semester of free tuition. Shortly after, senior guard T.J. Cromer made another half-court shot to provide ETSU student Jeremiah Pearson with a semester of free tuition.
“We could not purchase the type of visibility it’s created overnight,” said ETSU Associate Athletic Director for Communications Michael White.
Pack and Pearson will receive free tuition for the spring semester, according to White.
"He's about to school for free man," Payne said prior to making the half-court shot for Pack.
Cromer also guaranteed he'd sink his half-court shot for Pearson before making it.
White said Pack and Pearson were among three students chosen at random out of a drawing of about 1,000 students at Monday night’s annual Bluenanza preseason basketball celebration.
ETSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams participated in Monday’s event.
White said freshman guard Kayla Marosites nearly made another half-court shot between Payne and Cromer's shots. Had Marosites made her shot attempt, it would have provided free tuition for a third student.
Monday marked the first time a player has made a half-court shot to win free tuition for another student in the past five years at Bluenanza, according to White.
White said social media has helped create more exposure for mid-major teams like ETSU.
The ETSU men’s team begins its season in an exhibition against Mars Hill on Nov. 5, and opens its regular season against Fordham on Nov. 11.
The ETSU’s women’s team begins its season in an exhibition against Emory & Henry on Nov. 6, and opens its regular season in a road game against Butler on Nov. 11.